Poor Harry: At least he won’t wind up being a hand bag
We’ve written about animal abuse cases in the Middle East before, including an entire shipment of animals for a performing circus in Beirut Lebanon. But perhaps one of the strangest cases of rare animals being smuggled into places is a recent one dealing with a baby Nile crocodile named Harry, that had been smuggled into Dubai, sold to a Gulf News undercover reporter; and then spent its last days in a Dubai zoo, that tried to save its life.
The infant Crocodylus niloticus was one of many wild creatures that is listed on the international CITES treaty, which monitors various wild animals and plants that are in the most danger of becoming extinct. The CITES Treaty against unlawful trade in endangered animals, which came into effect in 1963, and contains a number of sections dealing with the trade of wild animals, particularly those that are considered as being on the endangered species list.
As of April, 2009, 175 countries are signatures to the treaty, including the UAE Emirates, which ratified the treaty in 1990.
The baby croc, which was in poor health when confiscated by Dubai authorities, must have been smuggled into the Emirate in someone’s airline carry-on hand luggage. In any event, the unfortunate reptile kept losing weight, despite efforts by the zoo’s staff to feed it.
This unfortunate episode appears to be shedding new light on other cases where rich people in the Emirates have been discovered as having their own private zoos, containing a variety of rare and endangered animals. We noted these events with an article dealing with endangered hyenas and baboons being found in the possession of an Abu Dhabi resident.
Despite efforts being made to stop this kind of trade, it still appears to be going on; and this seems to be the case even in countries that are signatures to the CITES treaty and its subsequent amendments. In the Middle East, most countries, including Saudi Arabia, and Syria are CITES members; with only Lebanon being the noted hold-out.
African countries, like Botswana, Madagascar (where the decline ofnative lemur populations have reached the critical point), Mozambique, and others are limited to an annual “export” quota of no more than 1,600 animals a year, according to the Gulf News article.
But despite this, the number of illegal exported animals is most likely much higher.
Read articles on animal abuse and on endangered species: